You are the Body of Christ~ by Father Bryan Wolf

The peace of our Lord, Jesus Christ be with you all.

For those of us within the Order of Preachers, Old Catholic- it has been an interesting and exciting new year, and we are only at the Third Sunday after the Epiphany! It has been a time of celebratory transitions, though marked with stress and sadness as well. It is curious then, that our Lectionary for this day would provide to us a valuable lesson, in which to reflect upon these recent events.

But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I dont’t need you!’ On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. {…} But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And God has placed in the church first all the apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of giudance and of different tounges. Are not we all apostles? All prophets? All teachers? All work miracles? All have gifts of healing? All speak in tounges? All interpret? [1 Corinthians 12:18-30]

The important lesson here, is that we all are together the Body of Christ. There is not one among us who is greater than the other. More valuable or indispensable than another. Admittedly we have our strengths and talents, as we have our weaknesses and faults as well. But together, we make each other complete.

This struggle is with us daily. In every aspect of our lives. Whether it is at home or work, or with family and friends. We all have the need to feel needed. We want to be sought for our opinions, input and counsel. We want to feel that without us, it would not have been possible. We all have desire to be a friend and it can be the rejection of that, that can cause hurt and even a lack of faith-in ourselves and even in God.

When this happens, we reflect upon our personal sacrifices- on accomplishments we thought were helpful, only to feel betrayed and discouraged when we are rebuffed and dismissed. If only we had those qualities, those strengths and assets they needed- then surely we would have been embraced.

But we do have those missing qualities. They are present in us by way of others. In those who are our family, friends and coworkers. For where one of us is weak, the others are there to raise us up. Where alone we would be afraid to stand, together we are courageous in number. A whisper of one, becomes a thunderous acclamation of all!

This is because we are all together, children of God. Do not be disheartened, for we are there to encourage. Do not feel overwhelmed, for together these burdens can be carried. Do not feel useless or unimportant, for I too need the gift you have to offer. Do not feel lost or alone, for we are walking together and all you have to do is reach for my hand.

Saint Aelred of Rievaulx, the patron saint for which I have named my parish, said it best in his work Mirror of Chairty(c.1142): “I reach out to take the hand that God reaches out for me to take. To cherish those that God calls upon me to cherish. Friend cleaving to friend in the spirit of Christ.”

For we are all children of God. Alone, we may feel insignificant and unimportant but together we are glorious creations of God! Together we are indispensable parts of the Body of Christ- and God’s heart and love beats within us.

Almighty and most merciful God. Create in me a loving spirit, so that I may rejoice and accomplish great things in your name! Let me be there to take that hand that reaches out for you, so that together we may find our way to you and not stumble. Make within us forgiving, pure and humble hearts, so that we may indeed be worthy to be- the Body of Christ Amen.

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